Joliet City Council candidate David Piekosz stays on April ballot
By Bob Okon email@example.com January 17, 2013 6:24PM
Updated: February 19, 2013 3:12PM
JOLIET — Candidate David Piekosz will on the ballot for the Joliet City Council election on April 9.
The Joliet Electoral Board ruled that Piekosz can stay on the ballot but removed another candidate, John Gnutek. Gnutek’s removal was expected since he had already conceded his nominating petitions were insufficient after they were challenged and quit his campaign.
“I’m really excited,” Piekosz said after the ruling.
Piekosz, a first-time candidate, said he expected to be removed from the ballot. He works during the day and was not able to attend two previous hearings. The objector, a man named Joseph Fischer who refused to talk to The Herald-News about his challenge to the petitions of both Piekosz and Gnutek, was represented by a lawyer who made the case to throw both candidates off the ballot.
Attorney Bryan Kopman said after the ruling that he would talk with Fischer to see if he wants to appeal the decision.
The electoral board did not side with Kopman’s argument that several signatures on Piekosz’s petitions should be invalidated because they did not match up with signatures found in voter registration records at the county clerk’s office.
Mayor Thomas Giarrante, one of the three members of the electoral board, said while some signatures on Piekosz’s petitions looked different, the signatures in the voter registration records dated as far back as 1996.
“Some of these are really old,” Giarrante said. “We took that into consideration.”
Both Giarrante and City Clerk Christa Desiderio, another member of the board, said they also gave weight to statements by the petition circulators that the signatures were valid.
“I relied on the circulators’ statements,” Desiderio said.
Piekosz said he and his wife, Carolyn, circulated the petitions, and all the signatures were from people who were willing to sign.
Piekosz said he asked the signers if they were registered to vote and if they lived in Joliet, but did not try to confirm their identities.
“I’m not going to say, ‘Can I see an ID with that?’” he said. “If they weren’t the person, I don’t know. Why would you ask?’”
Other candidates on the April 9 ballot are Troy Township Clerk Jim McFarland and the three city council incumbents— Don Fisher, Jan Quillman and Michael Turk.
The citywide election is for three at-large council positions.